The Resnick Sustainability Institute (RSI) advances global sustainability through transformational science, engineering, and education. We prioritize research across campus that addresses challenges and opportunities associated with climate change and the stewardship of natural resources. The fundamental insights gained are directed towards implementation and scale-up for real-world impact.
RSI research is broadly focused on four interconnected initiatives, where Caltech researchers are poised to provide uniquely impactful science and technology solutions.
Supporting science and engineering to make materials and build systems that harness sunlight while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, waste, and facilitating carbon drawdown.
Supporting science and engineering to diagnose, adapt to, and mitigate against climate change.
Supporting science and engineering to improve our ability to predict, manage, and improve availability of fresh water.
Supporting science and engineering to understand and sustain the biosphere.
- Climate Science Initiative Lead; R. Stanton Avery Prof. of Atmospheric Chemistry and Environmental Science and Engineering; Executive Officer for Environmental Science and Engineering; Director, Ronald and Maxine Linde Center for Global Environmental Sci.
Paul O. Wennberg
Methane and carbon dioxide concentrations are increasing rapidly driving the Earth’s climate. Using remote sensing from space and the ground, we seek to quantify the underlying processes that drive these changes – both their emissions and sinks. We are working to evaluate whether atmospheric remote sensing of CO2 and methane can be used to accurately estimate emissions from individual cites and broader regions.
- Water Resources Initiative Lead; John W. and Herberta M. Miles Professor of Geophysics; Jet Propulsion Laboratory Chief Scientist
Ensuring sustainable supplies of fresh water to meet human and environmental needs, which are stressed by changes in climate, land use, and population, requires a dynamic understanding of both natural and human systems, and how they interact. Gaining this understanding is the overarching goal of the Water Resources Initiative.
- Ecology and Biosphere Engineering Initiative Lead, Gordon M. Binder/Amgen Professor of Biology and Geobiology; Executive Officer for Molecular Biology
Dianne K. Newman
A focus on ecology and biosphere engineering is a new direction for Caltech. Historically, funding in the biosciences in the United States has emphasized medically-related problems. The RSI provides an opportunity for members of our community to apply their curiosity and talents to important problems that affect environmental health.
- Sunlight-to-Everything Initiative Lead; Howard Hughes Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science; Director, Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis
Harry A. Atwater
More energy from the sun falls on the earth in one hour than is used by every person in the world over the course of a year. Sunlight could power everything we make and do in our world.
- Bren Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Resnick Sustainability Institute
Jonas C. Peters
Addressing the challenges of climate change and the stewardship of our precious natural resources requires a shared sense of global responsibility. We look forward to facilitating Caltech’s crucial role in this common cause.
Learn more about this opportunity for visiting undergrads from underrepresented backgrounds. The 2021 application period is open!
Helping young companies grow their businesses through a supportive community of collaborators providing educational and financial support.
Pathways to Net-Zero and Negative Carbon Emissions & other webinar content now online!
Learn about recently funded research projects.
Browse research highlights from RSI Graduate Research and Postdoctoral Fellows.
Visit our Event Calendar to view upcoming sustainability events at Caltech.